Though it doesn’t feel long since we looked at the 2021 end of cycle reports we’re already quite a long way through the 2022 UCAS application cycle, and today brings the first sight of data on application numbers.
These figures are for applicants that enter the system before the January deadline – so comprise the majority of UCAS applications from 18 year olds, but are less representative for other groups. For this reason the high overall applicant numbers to high-tariff providers needs to be seen in context – after the age of 20, low tariff providers are much more popular.
Regional rates, POLAR applications
Overall application rates, and applicant numbers, are up in most splits, even if overall applicants are down very slightly (most likely due to a bumper year for mature applicants last year). We see the highest application rate for 18 year olds on record for every (ILTS1) region in the UK other than Scotland and the South West.
Rates are growing in each POLAR4 quintile for the UK other than quintile five – application rates are static from last year, whereas in quintile one we see a 1.4 percentage point growth. In Wales and Scotland application rates in POLAR4 quintile five are actually falling.
Subject spread and ethnicity
At a subject level, applicant interest in subjects allied to medicine has dropped since the pandemic peak. The fastest growing subject, year on year, is computing – with applications up 12.8 per cent over the previous year.
Just under seven per cent of all UK 18 year old applications came from Black students – the highest proportion and volume on record. Black applicants over 35 made three in ten of all applications from that age group in the UK – looking at England that figure is approaching four in ten.
Internationally, the slight decline in application numbers from the 2020 peak continues. Strong interest continues in India (up 10.7 per cent from last year), China (up 12.1 per cent to more than 55k), and Nigeria (up a staggering 46.9 per cent, putting applications almost on a par with those from Canada).
On the other side of the coin, there has been a 20.8 per cent fall in applications from the US, and the fall in interest from EU domiciled students continues.